Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Local legacy businesses receive $2.18 million in first phase of emergency funding from the City of Austin

AUSTIN, TX - The City of Austin Economic Development Department announces the first phase of awards totaling $2.18 million in relief grants to 109 local businesses impacted by the global COVID-19 pandemic. The funding was provided through the Austin Legacy Business Relief Grant, which is a $5 million program of the Save Austin's Vital Economic Sectors (SAVES) Fund established by the Austin City Council via Resolution No. 20200103-012. As part of a partnership with the City of Austin, PeopleFund processed applications and distributed  Phase 1: Emergency Funding grants. Additionally, BCL of Texas provided one-on-one business coaching and outreach support to strengthen the program. 

"Getting these recovery dollars into the hands of Austin's legacy businesses ensures long-term survivability," explains Veronica BriseƱo, Austin's Chief Economic Recovery Officer. "These restaurants, bars, and creative spaces are important to Austin's history and uniqueness. We want to make sure they continue to exist in our city long after the effects of the pandemic." 

PeopleFund began accepting Phase 1: Emergency Funding applications on February 16, 2021 and distributed the first $20,000 grants in April. Grantees met with business coaches at BCL of Texas to assess their businesses and identify opportunities such as business trainings, financial assistance, and business goals and more. Each grant recipient is eligible to apply for Phase 2 of the Legacy Business Relief Grant, which offers enhanced grant funding of up to $140,000.  

As additional awards are made and the program advances, the City of Austin will continue to provide updated metrics for economic impact through the online dashboard for the Austin Legacy Business Relief Grant. The online dashboard summary of Phase 1 data includes: 

  • 74% of awardees are restaurants.  

  • 21% of awardees have been in business in Austin for more than 40 years. All others met the minimum requirement of 20 years within city limits.  

  • 50% of awarded businesses are owned by Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC).

"Phase One of the Legacy Business Relief Grant program allowed us to assist long-standing businesses in Austin with capital and technical assistance." notes Gustavo Lasala, President and CEO of PeopleFund. "PeopleFund was proud to help by processing applications and coordinating award requirements with grantees. We are excited to continue building business resiliency and keeping the Austin small business culture bustling as we head into Phase Two of the program." 

As noted, the Austin Legacy Business Relief Grant will distribute the full $5 million dollars allocated in two phases:

Phase 1: Emergency Funding 

  • Eligible applicants received a $20,000 grant, which PeopleFund distributed in April and May of 2021.  

  • Phase 1 participants completed a Technical Assistance Evaluation and continue to receive business coaching and one-on-one technical assistance related to sustaining and growing their business.  

Phase 2: Enhanced Funding 

  • Applications for Phase 2 of the Legacy Business Relief Grant closed on May 7. Phase 2 awardees will be notified in late May. 

  • Only Phase 1 grant recipients were eligible to apply for additional grant funding in Phase 2. 

  • Eligible applicants could receive up to $140,000 (this does not include funds received from the first phase). Phase 2 award determinations will be made based on a scoring matrix and technical assistance evaluation. 

  • The funding amount will be determined based on applicants' documented operational costs and eligible expenses. Phase 2 funding will be distributed in monthly payments with a maximum of $40,000 per month. 


 About the City of Austin Economic Development Department
The City of Austin Economic Development Department supports business growth, creative industries, and local communities. These programs build an equitable, sustainable economy to improve the lives of all Austin residents. To learn more about helpful resources, visit or like us on Facebook @AustinEconDev and follow @AustinEconDev on Twitter.

About PeopleFund
PeopleFund provides small business loans as well as business assistance and education to people with otherwise limited access to such resources.  Since being founded in east Austin in 1994 as Austin Community Development Corporation, PeopleFund's financial and educational assistance has helped create thousands of jobs and empowered an even greater number of Texans on a path to financial stability and independence. PeopleFund is a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and operates as a non-profit 501(c)(3) serving all of Texas.
About BCL of Texas
The mission of BCL of Texas is Building Strong Communities. BCL of Texas is a U.S. Treasury Certified Development Financial Institution (CDFI), a U.S. Small Business Administration Certified Development Corporation (CDC), and a HUD-certified housing counseling agency. BCL of Texas supports communities of color to acquire wealth-building assets such as homeownership and entrepreneurship, with the financial tools and education necessary to optimize positive economic returns. BCL of Texas serves low and moderate income individuals, families, and small business owners, with an emphasis on diversity and underserved communities.

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